by Alicia Pimental
May 12, 2009
At its annual meeting on May 12, the Chesapeake Executive Council set new short-term goals to reduce pollution to the Bay and dramatically accelerate the pace of restoration of the Bay and its rivers.
Instead of pursuing a distant deadline, the seven Bay jurisdictions -- Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia -- will now focus on short, two-year goals called milestones. The milestones announced at the 2009 EC meeting are set to be met by December 31, 2011. (View the 2011 milestones to reduce pollution.)
Many states will significantly increase the pace of cleanup.
- Maryland will increase progress to reduce nitrogen by 138 percent and increase progress to reduce phosphorus by 502 percent.
- Virginia will increase progress to reduce nitrogen by 86 percent and increase progress to reduce phosphorus by 52 percent.
- Pennsylvania will increase progress to reduce nitrogen by 93 percent and increase progress to reduce phosphorus by 159 percent.
- The rate of progress in reducing nitrogen will accelerate by 77 percent, for a projected reduction of 15.8 million pounds.
- The rate of progress in reducing phosphorus will increase by 79 percent, for a projected reduction of 1.1 million pounds.
By meeting these and future milestones, the Bay jurisdictions will put in place all pollution control measures necessary for a restored Bay no later than 2025.
“We have charted a new course for the Chesapeake Bay’s recovery that will succeed because it includes the short-term goals necessary to make steady progress and is backed by federal and state leaders who share a profound conviction to protect our environment,” said Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council.
Bay restoration will be intensified by an Executive Order, issued by President Obama, that declares the Chesapeake a national treasure and increases the federal commitment to restoring the Bay. The Executive Order includes:
- Establishing a Bay federal leadership committee
- Directing EPA to fully use its Clean Water Act authorities
- Reducing water pollution from federal property
- Developing a Bay climate change strategy
- Improving agricultural conservation practices
- Expanding public access to the Bay
Further federal action is coming from the U.S. EPA, which is creating the Chesapeake TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load). The TMDL is essentially a pollution diet for the Bay that will drive the six states and D.C. to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus entering the waterways in their states that flow to the Bay.
Under the Executive Order, the EPA will also be developing strategies to ensure compliance and enforcement with pollution laws throughout the watershed. Additionally, the Clean Air Interstate Rule will reduce nitrogen pollution to the Bay by an estimated 10 million pounds annually beginning in 2010.
The Chesapeake Executive Council establishes the Bay Program's policy agenda. Participating in the meeting were:
- Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine
- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley
- Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty
- EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
- John Cosgrove, Chesapeake Bay Commission Chairman
- Jay Jensen, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- John Hangar, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary
- Collin O'Mara, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary
- Bill Brannon, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
- Navis Bermudez, Office of the Governor of New York